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State Rep. Jennifer Williamson.State Rep. Jennifer Williamson of Portland will lead the Democratic majority in the Oregon House into the next election cycle.


Williamson was chosen by Democratic colleagues to succeed Rep. Val Hoyle of Eugene, who resigned and is expected to announce her candidacy for secretary of state. Hoyle had been the party leader since Democrats gained a majority in the 2012 election.

Williamson had been the deputy majority whip, sharing responsibility for staying in touch with Democratic members and keeping vote counts on legislation.

The majority leader speaks for the party caucus and advances the party agenda. As is the case with the minority leader, the majority leader also recruits candidates for the next election cycle and raises money for campaigns.

During the just-concluded 2015 session, Williamson was House co-chairwoman of the Legislature’s budget subcommittee on public safety, and also was the No. 2 Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.

Williamson, 41, is in her second term from District 36, which covers Northwest Portland. She is married to Paul Loving, a business lawyer, and has a stepdaughter.

She has an independent practice in Portland.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Oregon in 1996, and her law degree from Willamette University in 2001.

She has worked for U.S. Sen. Mark Hatfield, a Republican, and the executive team at the Oregon Department of Education when elected Superintendent Susan Castillo led it.

She worked at the law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine in Portland. She also has been a lobbyist for Portland State University, where she was an assistant vice president, and for other clients as a principal at the Ruby Firm. She was elected in 2012 to the House seat that Mary Nolan vacated in a losing run for the Portland City Council.

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